If you were to ask me for a list of who made the best SSDs on the market MemoRight would be in my top three or four. The companies 2.5 inch drives are built very well and I don't just mean the outside of the cases. As a reviewer I get to take all of these SSDs apart to see what's inside. Generally I don't point out shoddy work, but when a product comes in with the components soldered well on the PCB, everything lined up with precision and such I try to mention it in the review. MemoRight is one of those companies that manufacturers really good boards with precision.
Today we're looking at a new venture from MemoRight, an mSATA SSD. MemoRight recently launched two mSATA products, a SATA II model named MS 700 and the SATA III MS 701 that we are looking at today.
Over the last couple of years we've seen our fair share of mSATA drives. The first was an upgrade part for a Dell Mini9, a system that is currently used in my garage for Ducati tuning. That first drive was a rather large at the time 64GB model. It cost roughly $300, back when SSDs were a little out of reach for most consumers. Since then we've seen numerous 32GB and 64GB mSATA drives and even a couple of 128GB models have hit the office of SSD Insanity, but never a 256GB drive.
That changes today! The new MemoRight MS 70x series takes the capacity up a notch, all the way to 256GB. These drives are based on SandForce controllers so the marketing and user capacity is 240GB, but we're used to that now. What the MS 701 240GB brings to the table is SandForce speeds, read and write over 500MB/s and it does so in a tiny package that is ready to increase the performance of your new notebook or motherboard with mSATA to a whole new level.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
The number of devices with mSATA slots is growing rapidly. Still though, you have to consider mSATA SSDs as a specialty product. Because of that the availability is a bit low and when these do finally make their way to market the prices should be higher than what the mass produced 2.5" versions demand. At the time of writing we weren't able to find the MemoRight MS-701 for sale online, but that should change post Computex.
MemoRight is producing three capacity sizes for the MS-701. Those are 30GB, 60GB, 120GB and the model we are looking at today, 240GB. The performance scales as you go up through the capacity range like any other SSD, but the 120GB and 240GB both claim 25K random read IOPS and 24K random write IOPS. Sequential transfer speeds are rated at 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write. These are very close to the claimed specs of the MemoRight FTM Plus 2.5" SSD.
Being an mSATA drive there isn't much room or need for an accessory page. The MS-701 that we are looking at today does come with a standard three year warranty.
MemoRight MS-701 240GB mSATA SSD
MemoRight is shipping the MS-700 and MS-701 in a blister pack. You can see which model is in the package though the clear plastic. Both model's specifications are listed on the package. At the very bottom of the package MemoRight even shows their methodology in obtaining their performance scores.
The warranty information is listed on the back of the package.
There isn't much to see on this side of the drive since it has a giant sticker over all of the components. Well, when I say giant it might be an overstatement since the entire drive is quite small.
On the back side we can see a little more. MemoRight use Micron MLC flash on the drive and there are four chips, two on each side.
With a little finesse we exposed the SandForce SF-2281 flash storage processor that is responsible for all of the speed.
Here we see the other side of the drive without the 'giant' sticker. This allows you to see the craftsmanship that went into the MS-701. Most of the components on this side are the power regulation circuitry.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance
You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.
mSATA is a connection standard that is gaining ground on two fronts. The first is the notebook / ultrabook market where space is very limited. With companies like MemoRight producing mSATA drives that compare with full size 2.5" form factor models in capacity this standard will continue to gain traction.
The second market where mSATA is taking hold is SSD caching of mechanical HDDs. We've seen a handful of motherboard manufactures including mSATA slots on their desktop boards. GIGABYTE seems to be leading the charge, but their mSATA slots are only SATA II.
If you are purchasing an mSATA drive for a desktop motherboard choosing a lower cost SATA II model might prove to be a wise decision. Then again, your next motherboard may just have an mSATA slot with SATA III, so if you can afford the additional expense, a SATA III model should be better in the long term.
ATTO Baseline Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34
ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.
So much for the MemoRight MS-701 being outperformed by a desktop model. In our testing we achieved a solid 560MB/s read and 523MB/s write speed. This is easily the fastest mSATA drive we've tested to date, a real beast of a performer.
Benchmarks - HD Tune Pro
HD Tune Pro
Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00
Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com
HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:
Benchmark: measures the performance
Info: shows detailed information
Health: checks the health status by using SMART
Error Scan: scans the surface for errors
HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.
A large portion of the speed from the MemoRight MS-701 240GB can be attributed to the firmware on the drive. MemoRight lists it as 1.3.3, but in SandForce terminology that should be 3.3, one of the most stable releases to come out of the SandForce lab. In our charts today we also have another SATA III mSATA drive with a SandForce FSP, the RunCore T50 120GB drive. The new firmware found on the MemoRight MS-701 produces a much better read performance graph when reading across the drive.
The write speed is much better on the MS-701 240GB. Here we see an average sequential write of compressible data at 407MB/s. The MS-701 isn't just a fast mSATA drive; it would hold its own against the current crop of 2.5" form factor drives!
Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time
AIDA64 Random Access Time
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.
Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cache fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron and Toshiba.
Read latency is one of the most important tests we conduct in our testing. Having a low, in the case of SSDs, ultra-low latency when reading your data back has a direct effect on how fast your system feels when you are bouncing around in Windows and opening programs.
Both the read and write access time is very good on the MS-701.
Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark
Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview
Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info
Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html
Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark
CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.
* Sequential reads/writes
* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes
* Text copy
* Change dialog design
* internationalization (i18n)
Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.
In CDM we're looking at how the 4K and NCQ scales. Here we see a nice progression that goes from 40MB/s at a single read command to nearly 60MB/s with four to just over 115MB/s at 32 commands.
With just four NAND flash chips we finally found a place where the 240GB mSATA drive is a little slower than the full size 2.5" drives. The MS-701 hits the same wall that we see with the 120GB drives when it comes to scalability with high queue depths. This really isn't much of a problem with consumer drives though since you don't get into high queue depths often.
Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests
PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/
PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.
FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.
HDD1 - Windows Defender
HDD2 - Gaming
HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery
HDD4 - Vista Startup
HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker
HDD6 - Windows Media Center
HDD7 - Windows Media Player
HDD8 - Application Loading
The SandForce SF-2281 controller is a monster when it comes to dealing with daily use computing as you can see here. The graph shows solid performance across the board without any weak areas that take away from user experience.
Benchmarks - AS SSD
AS SSD Benchmark
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358
Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software
Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software
AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.
In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).
Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.
- Copy Benchmark
The file transfer test shows another strong performance for the MemoRight MS-701 SATA III mSATA drive.
Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities
Anvil Storage Utilities
Version and / or Patch Used: BETA 11
So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.
Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.
The software can be used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.
Fill Compressible Data
I was a bit worried going into this test since I had yet to determine if the MemoRight MS-701 used synchronous or asynchronous flash. We can now answer that question and say that this drive uses premium synchronous flash.
Benchmarks - Passmark
Passmark Advanced Multi-User Tests
Version and / or Patch Used: 6.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.passmark.com
Test Homepage: http://www.passmark.com
Many users complain that I/O Meter is too complicated of a benchmark to replicate results so my quest to find an alternative was started. Passmark has added several multi-user tests that measure a hard drives ability to operate in a multi-user environment.
The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances is read / write percentage as well as random / sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.
The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.
I've yet to see anyone use mSATA in the same sentence with enterprise, but could you imagine how many mSATA slots could fit in a 1U rack mount?! We still like running these tests even if enterprise mSATA is just a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
MemoRight will have stiff competition from larger SSD manufacturers in the mSATA market. ADATA is making a push and so are several others. Given the quality exhibited by MemoRight in the past and the performance we saw today, I'd take their MS-701 model over anyone else's right now. The performance of the MS-701 is amazing for an mSATA drive with just four flash chips onboard. At first I was a bit worried about the number of channels used from the flash processor unit, something you can clearly see in the IOPS rating, but the 701 really hit it out of the ball park.
There is one big mystery though right now and that is wallet depreciation factor. How much is your wallet or bank account going to shrink when you buy the MemoRight MS-701? I really can't tell you because I don't know and Google wasn't a help this time. The closest competitor tit-for-tat is the RunCore T50 and that is listed in the US for $399, but for the 120GB capacity size. Even if MemoRight were to hit that same price with the 240GB drive it is still a big chunk of change for a solid state drive in 2012. If MemoRight can hit $350 for the 240GB model then I'm sold.
The last thing I want to touch on is the ultrabook market. At the beginning we were pitched all of this performance and the slim design, but as companies start to roll out their 2012 models the slim design stuck, but the performance just isn't there. Many of the ultrabook manufactures are stuffing these anorexic notebooks with SSDs based on old controllers that were cutting edge and fast two and three years ago.
I'm disheartened to say it, but even in 2012, your best upgrade for your 'cutting edge' notebook will still be a high performance SSD. Right now your best choice for an mSATA SSD is the MemoRight MS-701.
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